Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection collecting plan

Find out about collecting and priorities for the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection.

Purpose

The purpose of this collecting plan is to describe the extent of collecting to be undertaken and priorities for the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection. This collecting plan was developed in accordance with the collecting principles outlined in the National Library of New Zealand’s Collections Policy. Oversight of the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection is the responsibility of the Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing, as this collection aligns most closely.

National Library of New Zealand’s Collections Policy

The purpose of the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection is to preserve and provide access to current and historical printed and digital material, primarily published overseas, to support research in New Zealand. The physical collection is intended for use in the Katherine Mansfield Reading Room and is preserved in perpetuity in accordance with the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003.

The Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection is a separate and distinct collection from the National Library of New Zealand General Collection.

Scope of the collection

The Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection was originally based on the collecting interests of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull.

It is particularly strong in 19th and early 20th century English literature, but also includes accounts of voyages and travels, works about Milton, the history of the book and bibliographies, as well as many historical library catalogues, biographies, family history resources, limited and first editions, fine printing, examples of 19th and early 20th century trade bindings, and children’s books dating from 1831 onwards.

The Library no longer generally collects formed collections or personal libraries, unless there is significant provenance or textual content not available elsewhere in New Zealand.

Related collecting plan — Rare Books and Fine Printing

Collection strengths

  • 19th and early 20th century book production
  • Literature supporting research on the works of John Milton
  • Literature supporting research on the history of the book
  • Bibliographies

Collecting principles

The National Library of New Zealand Collection Policy provides a suite of principles that guide all collecting across the published and unpublished collections by the National Library and Alexander Turnbull Library.

The relevant principles from the collection development policy are provided below, with an explanation of how they will be realised for the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection.

Principle 1

Developing breadth and depth in the Library’s research collections requires decisions to be informed by, and responsive to, current and emerging research trends as well as the anticipated needs of future generations of New Zealanders.

Actions

The Library will continue to build upon existing strengths of the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection and to be responsive to emerging research trends.

The Library welcomes discussion with any part of the research community regarding collection of publications to support research that is in scope of the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection.

Principle 3

The Library has an important leadership role in collaborating and coordinating collection related activities across institutional and national boundaries to enable New Zealanders to connect to information important to their lives and to support a strong documentary heritage and tāonga system for all New Zealanders.

Action

The Library always considers the most appropriate repository for a collection item prior to acquisition, which can often be another institution within New Zealand or further abroad.

Principle 6

The Library takes into account the cost of acquiring, storing, managing and making accessible collection items when building its collections.

Action

The Library’s process for approval to purchase collection items is followed at all times when using the Crown’s acquisition budget to build collections.

Collecting priorities

Works which support specialist areas in the Turnbull Library collections, especially material relating to the works of John Milton and the history of print culture.

Limited collecting to augment Alexander Turnbull’s collection of English literary work of the 19th century and early 20th century, first or significant editions, illustrated limited editions and other examples of book craft from that period.

Reference works in support of the Alexander Turnbull Library Named Collections. These are closed collections and new material is not added to them.

Material identified for possible deaccessioning from the National Library’s General Collections, its Overseas Published Collection in particular, will be appraised on a case-by-case basis for potential transfer to the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection.

Alexander Turnbull Library Named Collections

Contact

Anthony Tedeschi, Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing, Alexander Turnbull Library
Email — anthony.tedeschi@dia.govt.nz

Download the Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection collecting plan

Alexander Turnbull Library General Collection collecting plan (pdf, 250KB)

Last updated 2022